Three years after his previous appearance, Steve Savage, The Balloon Buster finally meets his match in Hans Von Hammer, The Enemy Ace. 'The Hammer of Hell' had been appearing sporadically in the back of Star-Spangled War Stories, backing up lead feature The Unknown Soldier for a couple of years. The Enemy Ace strip was written by creator Robert Kanigher, who I've got to think had been itching to pit his noble, dignified German pilot against his other recurring WWI ace, the white trash saddle tramp, The Balloon Buster.
The meeting would take place in Star-Spangled . . . #181 , and carry over into the next two issues. This three issue back-up stint would pretty much form the template for the remainder of Steve Savage's appearances.
|The Main Event - almost 10 years in the making|
Speaking of which:
This 7 page story, titled "Hells Angels," is written in first person from the perspective of Von Hammer. The war-weary Enemy Ace is awoken one morning by the sound of a fierce battle in the skies over the German airfield. The entire dawn patrol, under Von Hammer's command, is being engaged by a lone yellow Spad, an American plane. Pilots on the ground, furious at the slaughter this single American pilot is inflicting, are prevented from taking off by Von Hammer. He insists that this 'duel between gentlemen . . . shall finish . . . without interruption!' Von Hammer, himself, decides to take to the skies, in order to assure that 'the rules of combat are observed!'
|Taking nobility too far? Content to merely observe the destruction of his pilots, The Enemy Ace takes to the skies|
|A desperate, crazy ploy by The Balloon Buster that would kill them both|
|Ace to ace, meeting face to face|